Good Friday is a day of fast and abstinence, which means we abstain from eating meat, and we fast by only having two small meals and one ordinary meal. The Church gathers in silence as we take up and continue our prayer from the liturgy of Holy Thursday the evening before. The silence echoes more profoundly this year, more so than in any other year in our living memory. Yet in that silence lies our deepest truth. In the Passion, Christ has taken upon himself the sufferings and the sins of our world. And Christ, and Christ’s love, has prevailed. The liturgy of the day has three key elements: the Readings and the proclamation of the Passion, the Solemn Intercessions and the Adoration of the Cross. There are additional special prayers this year in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This year we will not be able to venerate the cross in church. If you are following the ceremony online perhaps have your own cross or crucifix available and make a gesture of respect to it.
Something To Do At Home? Place a cross and an unlit candle in your prayer space today. If you have not got a cross perhaps you could make one from two twigs in the garden or two small pieces of wood, or get the children to make one from card. Take a quiet moment today in the garden or by a window and look out at the trees, thinking about what Jesus’ sacrifice of love on the cross means for you. If there is someone to whom you need to say sorry, do so today by whatever means you have, in person, phone, text, email
You may also use this prayer for private veneration of the cross at home: This prayer was composed by Fr. Damian McNeice of the Dublin Archdiocese for use in the Good Friday ceremonies this year (2020)
(A Good Friday Prayer whilst the Cross is held aloft for the contemplation of the people)
Lord Jesus, you said: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:32) On the Cross, you show your total solidarity with us. You go to the very lowest point of the human condition. Ours, the sufferings you bore, ours the sorrows you carried (Isaiah 53:4) In the face of evil and suffering, all you do is give love, with a compassion that excludes no one. Through your wounds, we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5) Your love disarm all our refusals, and you bring us forgiveness and peace. We come to you, then, with confident trust, knowing we shall have mercy and grace when in need of help. (Hebrews 4:16)
We lift up to you this holy day those members of your Body suffering throughout the world: all who are carrying heavy burdens, those lacking the very basics of human dignity, those violently oppressed, refugees, the homeless poor, those who are ill, the lonely, the dying, those caring for them, listening to them, the broken-hearted, those whose spirit is crushed. We lift up to you particularly those burdened as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic: those affected, their families, those who have died, frontline workers and those in public services sacrificing themselves for the good of others. We thank you for those witnessing to your loving kindness in the midst of humanity’s need with countless acts of generosity.
As we pray for the suffering members of your Body throughout the world – by your cross, give strength; by your cross, bring hope, by your cross, disarm our fears and hardness of heart. You, who are lifted up from the earth, draw all people to yourself. There in your wide embrace, grant us healing and peace.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world